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Past Research activities

Research in the Fifth Framework Programme

Agriculture food forestry and fisheries are hugely important economic and social sectors in the EU. For example exports derived from the agriculture and forestry sectors alone are worth around €50 billion a year to the EU and they employ around 17 million people. Europe can also boast a great deal of global success in terms of efficient food production and farming systems. Unfortunately these intensive processes have had detrimental effects upon issues such as the environment, biodiversity, and global trade.


In line with this policy key action 5 of the fifth framework programme, launched in 1998, dealt specifically with research into developing knowledge and technologies for the sustainable production and exploitation of biological resources, covering the whole production chain, and taking into account the competitive international context and ways to adapt to the evolution of the common agricultural and fisheries policies. The key action focused upon the following key areas of research.

Plant and Animal production systems
Sustainable farm production systems including control and analysis, diversification of production and activities, support to Community plant health policies including prevention prediction and protection against diseases and harmful organisms; Animal welfare and the prevention, control, eradication of animal diseases and zoonoses. The identification and characterisation of the quality of agrofood products and agricultural farm-processed products and farm-processing technologies. The definition of parameters, specifications, methods, forms of organisation and technologies for total quality; organic farming systems; plant and animal breeding, including relevant application-oriented genome research, and the diversity of genetic resources.

Fisheries and aquaculture
Support to integrated fishery management linking resource conservation, means of capture, and interactions with ecosystems, market requirements and socioeconomic considerations. The identification and characterisation of the quality of marine products and technologies including the development of new concepts for the sustainable use of marine and aquatic living resources. Sustainable aquaculture production systems with reduced impact on ecosystems and diversification of cultivated species (both plant and animal); improvement of production techniques; genetic improvement; disease resistance and control.

Non-food products
The exploitation of the biorefinery concept and the integrated production chain method in order to develop Industrial products such as green chemicals, biopolymers and biofuels from biological resources.

Forest management and the Forest wood chain
Developing multifunctional and sustainable management of forests combining quality production and new and improved technologies with conservation and environmental protection, including protection of forests soils and protection against natural hazards such as forest fires. Diversification including non-wood and recreational uses, and agro-sylvo-pastoral systems. Forests ecosystems biodiversity and genetic improvement. Developing strategies for sustainable management and multipurpose utilisation of forest resources and the forestry-wood chain where efficient, environment-friendly processes and recycling technologies, high value-added and diversified products accounting for market needs, and consumer requirements, will be addressed

Support to the Common Agriculture and Fish policies
The aim is to support the sound implementation of the common agricultural and fisheries policies and related activities. This research may also be useful to the Community in the context of international trade negotiations and of dispute settlements in the framework of WTO, in the area of agriculture. The aim is to provide support for Community regulations by prenormative research activities. prenormative research to provide the scientific basis for regulations in the context of the common agricultural and fisheries policies,

Rural Development
Analysis of changes under way, the relationships between the sectors involved and the factors influencing technological and socioeconomic changes. Multifunctional land use and landscape management as related to important ecosystems and habitats including cultural heritage; diversification and job opportunities; development of the .integrated rural and fishery development' concept, with the elaboration of new models and tools, including for spatial planning and the improvement of the organisational capacity of local actors; support to follow-up and evaluate rural and coastal development programmes and policies with tools to monitor, assess and forecast socioeconomic and environmental benefits.

Research Projects - DB

Research in the Fourth Framework Programme

FAIR s an acronym for the Fourth Framework specific RTD programme “Agriculture and Fisheries (including Agro-industry, Food technologies, Forestry, Aquaculture and Rural Development)”. It was one of the 18 specific programmes adopted by Council in April 1994 for funding over the framework period 1994-1998. The FAIR programme had an overall budget of 728 MECU and was implemented through research and technological development (RTD), demonstration (DEMO), and CRAFT, shared cost projects, concerted action and thematic networks (CA), and research training grants.

The programme aimed to promote pre-competitive research in the European primary production food and non-food sectors of agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and aquaculture, and to consolidate links with the input and processing industries, the end user and the consumer. It covers all aspects of production and utilisation of biological raw materials with a view to develop new markets, products and processes for the raw materials originating from agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Pre-normative research was initiated and supported in order to provide a sound scientific base for the setting of standards and regulations relating to production, transformation and use of biological resources.

Research in the Third Framework Programme

Agro-industrial research (AIR) ran from 1991 to 1994 under the Commission's Third Framework Programme.
AIR research was organised into four scientific and technical areas:

  • primary production in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture
  • inputs to agriculture, forestry, fisheries and agriculture
  • processing of biological raw materials
  • end use products

For further information on AIR

Research in the Second Framework

Agricultural was divided into a number of programmes in the Commission's Second Framework Programme for research (1986-1990).

They were:

- FOREST (Forestry Sectoral Research and Technology) - this programme covered raw materials, recycling, and renewables in forestry and wood products.

- FAR (Fisheries and Aquaculture Research) - community research and co-ordination programmes in the fisheries sector.

- CAMAR (Competitiveness of Agriculture and Management of Agricultural Resources) - a research and technological development programme covering competitiveness of agriculture, and management of agricultural resources.

- FLAIR (Food-linked Agricultural Research) - research in food science and technology.

- ECLAIR (European Collaborative Linkage of Agriculture and Industry through Research) - this was the first multi-annual programme for bio-technology-based agro-industrial research and technological development.

Findings from the ECLAIR programme


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